Gestational Diabetes Short and Long Test Information

by wrylilt

A mandatory glucose tolerance test is performed on women around week 24 of pregnancy. Here is a guide to what to expect and what to do.

During even a low risk pregnancy, you'll find there are many different tests you'll experience, from the first pregnancy test through to regular urine tests, blood pressure tests, blood tests and a gestational diabetes test.
Gestational diabetes is a complication more common in women who have health or weight problems or are experiencing pregnancy at an older age. Even if you're not in the risk category for gestational diabetes you'll still probably be tested for it.
Before you begin to worry about such a scary sounding problem, just remember this - many women who get it have never had any type of diabetes before pregnancy and many of these women often find it disappears within a few weeks of baby's birth. The most important thing is diagnosing and treating it during pregnancy.
This article is written as a guide to Glucose Tolerance Tests, what to expect and how to prepare for them.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes is a pregnancy induced problem with the insulin produced by your pancreas. The insulin plays in important role in processing the sugars you eat. 

Preparing For Your Diabetes Test
Preparing For Your Diabetes Test

What are the risks of having untreated Gestational Diabetes?

Some of the basic problems associated with Gestational Diabetes include very large babies, which may lead to an early induction or caesarian.

The large amount of glucose that crosses through the placenta forces the baby's pancreas to work overtime. Baby's body will create extra energy which is then stored as fat. This can also lead to higher risk of obesity and diabetes in later life for the child.

Glucose problems can also have an adverse effect on baby's breathing at birth.

What does the Glucose drink taste and look like?

The Glucose drink doesn't taste bad - in fact it tastes almost exactly like lemonade. It's a clear liquid in a small bottle and is generally only about 500 ml.

What types of Glucose Tolerance Tests are there?

There are several types of tests, depending on where you live and your risk of having gestational diabetes.

The tests are known as Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTT) and involve drinking a sugary liquid after which you'll be tested to see how your body reacts to the liquid.

  1. Basic test - this test will involve drinking a specific amount of high glucose liquid, then waiting one hour before you'll have a blood test taken. If you have a high reading from this test, you'll be asked to come back for a longer test to confirm the results.
  2. Single test - some areas will do a one of test on all pregnant women that involves drinking a glucose drink and then having two blood tests, an hour apart.
  3. Long test - this is often used if you've had a high reading from a basic test. It involves drinking glucose liquid and then having a blood test each hour for up to three blood tests. This is the most conclusive test to check whether you do have gestational diabetes.

Preparing for your Test

It's important to prepare for the test correctly, so that you don't have a false positive or need to retake the test. The following are guidelines only and should be checked with your doctor before the test.

Don't eat or drink anything but water in the 12 hours before the test. (If you do, it may result in a false positive.)

Make sure you have at least an hour available in which to take the test.

If possible ask someone to drive you home, since after fasting and drinking the liquid, you may feel light headed.

What complications can the test cause?

Some women will experience some minor problems from the test including:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

For this reason it's important to stay at the testing centre during the entire testing period

Updated: 09/01/2012, wrylilt
 
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